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Why Ethnic Parties Succeed
Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts in India

$30.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108635523

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About the Authors
  • Why do some ethnic parties succeed in attracting the support of their target ethnic group while others fail? In a world in which ethnic parties flourish in both established and emerging democracies alike, understanding the conditions under which such parties rise and fall is of critical importance to both political scientists and policy makers. Drawing on a study of variation in the performance of ethnic parties in India, this book builds a theory of ethnic party performance in 'patronage democracies'. Chandra shows why individual voters and political entrepreneurs in such democracies condition their strategies not on party ideologies or policy platforms, but on a headcount of co-ethnics and others across party personnel and among the electorate.

    • A book-length attempt to theorize about the performance of ethnic political parties as a distinct phenomenon
    • Offers an interpretation of Indian democracy, demonstrating the connection between India's state-dominated economy and the behaviour of its voters and politicians
    • A most extensive study on the Bahujan Samaj Party and contemporary ethnic politics in India
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Kanchan Chandra is one of the brightest lights in the new generation of political scholars of India. Chandra's contribution to ethnic studies is her challenge to the pessimistic premise advanced by leading scholars of ethnic politics that ethnic solidarities, unlike class and interest groups, are incompatible with and destructive of democratic processes. In her view, competition among ethnic minorities can lead to centrism and democratic survival rather than extremism and democratic destruction. She argues her case in game theoretic form while showing a good feel for the nitty gritty of Indian electoral settings.' Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago

    'In explaining why some ethnic parties succeed while others fail, Kanchan Chandra makes an important contribution to our understanding of ethnicity in politics. By highlighting the interaction of group size and internal party rules in a context characterized by the kind of information constraints inherent in patronage democracies, she provides a nover microfoundation for ethnic politics in competitive democracies. In addition, her book sets a new benchmark on how to combine abstract thinking and rich analysis.' Stathis N. Kalyvas, Yale University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108635523
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 7 maps 39 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of maps
    figures, and tables
    List of abbreviations
    A note on terminology
    1. Introduction
    Part I. Theory:
    2. Limited information and ethnic categorization
    3. Patronage-democracy, limited information and ethnic favouritism
    4. Counting heads: why ethnic parties succeed in patronage-democracies
    5. Why parties have different ethnic head counts: party organization and elite incorporation
    Part II. Data:
    6. India as a patronage-democracy
    7. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Scheduled Castes (SCs)
    8. Why SC elites join the BSP
    9. Why SC voters prefer the BSP
    10. Why SC voter preferences translate into BSP votes
    11. Explaining different head counts in the BSP and congress
    12. Extending the argument to other ethnic parties in India: the BJP, the DMK and the JMM
    13. Ethnic head counts and democratic stability

  • Author

    Kanchan Chandra, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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